You have a math test coming up.  Where do you START to even study that content?

If math tests are difficult for you, you can excel on your exams by following these tips:

  • Math is best learned by doing it over and over.  Once you understand the basic formulas and concepts do as many problems as you can so that you have the concepts down and are able to build your confidence.
  • Make sure that you are doing problems that are similar to the ones that will be on your exams.  Also, set some time aside to work on the hardest problems.
  • Spend some time trying to work problems out yourself before asking for help.  If you can’t set up the problem though, ask your instructor or review the information in your book.
  • Make sure that you do problems that are set up in different ways. Math questions can be set up in a variety of different ways, which are sometimes confusing, so that your professor can see how well you understand the concepts. Once you learn these different approaches though, you will understand how to use different kinds of formulas.
  • Record every formula that you need on one page of you notebook and commit them to memory.
  • As soon as you get the test, write down the formulas that you will need in the margins so that you don’t forget them.
  • Read the directions carefully for each part of the test and make sure that you completely answer all parts of each question.
  • When you can, make an estimate of the right answer first.  After you have worked through the question, if your answer isn’t like you had expected it is a good idea to recheck your calculations just to make sure.
  • You absolutely must show your work when taking math exams.  This allows you to go back and check your work if you don’t know if you got the correct answer and instructors will often give you partial credit for parts of questions that you did correctly.
  • If a problem is difficult, don’t just ignore it.  Give it a try, don’t mark out your work, and show every step so that you increase the likelihood that you will get partial credit.
  • When you have enough time go back and check your answers. It is a good idea to rework your problems on the back of the test sheet if possible.  If your answers don’t match re-check your work.